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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Farewells pour in for US ambassador to UAE as her term comes to an end

Friends and associates thank Barbara Leaf for her three years of service 

US ambassador Barbara Leaf's three-year term is nearing its end. Antonie Robertson / The National
US ambassador Barbara Leaf's three-year term is nearing its end. Antonie Robertson / The National

Friends and associates of US ambassador to the UAE Barbara Leaf have shared farewell messages on social media as her three-year term comes to an end.

“One of the great pleasures of my visit to Dubai was to spend time with US Ambassador Barbara Leaf, who (is) nearing the end of her time in the UAE,” Washington state lieutenant governor Cyrus Habib published on his Twitter account on Wednesday. “Thank you @SafiraLeaf for your service, and for welcoming our delegation this week.”

Sana Bagersh, chief executive of the advertising agency BrandMoxie and chairwoman of the AmCham Abu Dhabi Women in Business Committee, bade the ambassador farewell on Facebook earlier this week accompanied by photos of the two together at an embassy reception.

“We will miss an ambassador who deeply loved the UAE's local culture, celebrated its diversity and connected with people who call it home,” said Ms Bagersh. “Tonight we assured each other that we will remain connected despite circumstances and distance... Au revoir ambassador.”

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The post elicited additional messages from supporters praising the ambassador for her service and wishing her well.

“Stop it! I’m crying now!” the ambassador replied.

Ms Leaf was confirmed on November 17, 2014. In remarks delivered at the Dubai Air Show and Adipec, she said she will be leaving the UAE in mid-December to return to the state department in Washington.

An official at the US embassy said Ms Leaf’s replacement has not yet been announced and that Steven Bondy, deputy chief of mission, will be the charge d'affairs in the absence of an ambassador.

Mr Bondy arrived in the capital in September following a tour as assistant chief of mission at the US embassy in Kabul.